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A ‘Steppe’ in the right direction

KYALAMI - Kyalami's Inge Rall-Behm crossed the finish line of the Mongol Derby on 13 August.

Rall-Behm said on her blog, “I have travelled 1 000km across the Mongolian Steppe on horseback. I have cried. I have laughed so hard that I nearly fell of my horse. I have been irritated, disappointed, angry. Tired, so very tired.

“I have been in awe of the landscape, the hospitality and care of the Mongolian people. I have been wet and cold. I have made new lifelong friends. I have longed for my family. I have been on an emotional roller coaster. And I have cried some more. I have been moulded by the Steppe of Mongolia.”

The derby, dubbed the toughest horse race in the world, started on 4 August and riders had to brave extreme weather conditions and ride semi-wild Mongolian ponies across the country.

Rall-Behm used the ride to spread awareness of rhino poaching in South Africa, especially The Rhino Orphanage, based in Limpopo. The orphanage raises baby rhinos that have been orphaned due to the poaching trade. She also handed out beaded jewellery with rhino symbols on her travels to spread more awareness.

Rall-Behm crossed the finish line holding hands with three other riders to finish tied for 14th place. For the first time in the race’s five year history, a woman rider, Lara Prior-Palmer, won.

Rall-Behm said, “So I chose this adventure. I could have chosen a safer trajectory, but didn’t. And now I am sitting back in civilised Ulanbataar, sipping on probably the most expensive wine I will ever drink, staring at the spot where Bogd Khan should be in the mist. And I am trying to figure out if I am a slightly different person. The Steppe will know, I’m sure.”

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